Saturday, June 14, 2014

1941 Politics of Fashion Dress

On a previous post I broke down the politics of the dress codes of the 1940s war time. The government regulated fashion down to how much fabric and trim a manufacturer could put in any ensemble.  I wanted to recreate a proper dress from 1941.
 I received My pattern that I purchased on ebay.  It was complete and exactly as I expected.  The cover is rather fragile, but the pattern pieces were in great shape.
I was rather surprised by a few things.  The zipper was called a "slide" and the sleeves were set in in pieces rather than stitched together and gathered like modern patterns. However, the pattern fits me perfectly without any alterations.  It is a 16.  I wear a 12 in current patterns and a size 4 off the rack.  So obviously, size numbers are just numbers.
The following pictures are of my daughter wearing the dress as I made it for her.  The belt is purchased and the shoes are mine from the 90s.

Daughter did her own victory curls.









It was fun making this dress.
The facts:
Challenge: #11 Politics of Fashion
Fabric: 97% Cotton 3% Lycra, so not completely accurate.  The stretch in the fabric did help in getting the sleeves in correctly.
Pattern: Simplicity 4239 from the 1940s
Year: ca. 1941
Notions: "slide" (current) Coats thread, 4 plastic buttons
How historically accurate is it:  85% because of notions and Lycra in the fabric
Hours to complete: 9
First worn: Friday the Thirteenth for Pictures.  Daughter will wear it for her office job.
Cost: Approximately $45
Thanks for stopping by.


  1. It's quite lovely, and would have been worn for office work in the summer, according to what my mother's photos show. She was employed by the federal government during the war in the days before air conditioning. Congratulations!

  2. What a lovely dress. Simple but so timeless and elegant, and I love the collar/yoke.

    I wear the 1940s dress I made for 'Black and White' to the office all the time, and I don't think that anyone has noticed yet that it's not a modern design. In fact, I like it so much that I've just bought fabric to make it up again.